Above ––
An analogue from the compiled housing matrix along Mortimer Avenue, East York, Ontario, CA. Elise Hunchuck (2015, 2017–).

Front Yard Mimicry: 
Environmental Modulations & Disruptive Technologies

Seeking to understand management of residential yards at the local scale, Jean Zymslony and Daniel Gagnon[1] determined six front yard-zones (wall, foundation, entrance, center, side, front, walkway, sidewalk) in order to organize raw data, gathering it and entering it into matrices. They concluded front-yard management is a contagious autocorrelated variable with the most repeated structure being vegetation.

Their work, if statistically correlated elsewhere, tells us that the neighbour mimicry effect could be essential to the successful provocation and deployment of municipal environmental strategies which may or may not be legislated as necessary; that is, mimicry could be exploited as a means to engender property-owning and resident-based action through design.

To examine the possibilities of their work, a design studio of 28 students each studied two front yard sections in the city of Toronto; in this case, along Mortimer and Aldwych Avenues. The visual analogue of the information matrix is seen below, with each housing unit, duplex and corner yard represented on its own, extracted from its context to highlight similarities and differences in individual residential front yard management. Formerly the borough of East York, this distinct residential area east of the Don Valley River is the result of an initial influx of British immigrants who sought out homes and land parcels that would allow for front and back yards and features swaths of uninterrupted parallel parcels of front yards that are highly suitable for a comparative reading of Zymslony and Gagnon’s work.

This research was completed with the guidance of Assistant Professor J. Scott MacIvor (University of Toronto, Scarborough) and has been renewed for a forthcoming project (2018).

1. For more, please see Daniel Gagnon and Jean Zymslony‘s ‘Residential management of urban front-yard landscape: A random process?’ in Landscape and Urban Planning 40 (4), May 1998. pp. 295-307.

Above ––
A comparative reading of Zymslony and Gagnon’s work along Mortimer and Aldwych Avenues in the city of Toronto. Images collected, extracted, and compiled from Google Earth by Elise Hunchuck (2015).